Forward Marcus Foligno was held out by the Amerks in anticipation of being invited to Buffalo Sabres training camp this weekend. The Crunch did the same with defenseman Keith Aulie.
Without Foligno in the line-up the Amerks' offense had a more difficult time generating sustained pressure in the Syracuse zone save for a brief couple of shifts towards the end of the second period.
Syracuse opened the scoring early in the first period as Brett Connolly cleaned up a loose puck in the slot and buried it behind Amerks' netminder David Leggio for a 1-0 lead.
The Amerks later tied the game in the first after the Crunch got caught standing still in the neutral zone. Rochester moved the puck quickly through the middle of the ice and created a 2-on-1 rush that Mark Mancari finished off with a goal that Dustin Tokarski had little chance to stop.
The Crunch regained the lead in the second period after Richard Panik snapped a long wrister over Leggio's glove, then minutes later Alex Killorn stormed out of the penalty box to touch up a pending icing call and feed the puck to a streaking Mike Angelidis who was all alone in front of the net and put the Crunch up 3-1.
The Amerks later brought it to 3-2 off something of a broken play. Rochester defenseman TJ Brennan took a big wind-up from the point and partially fanned on the shot, forcing the puck awkwardly to the trapezoid where it was quickly fed to the front of the net and behind Tokarski off Luke Adam's stick.
Rochester managed to tie the game in the third off another 2-on-1 given up by the Crunch. Nick Tarnasky fired a big slap shot from the left hash that hit Tokarski in the shoulder, popped up, and was tapped in by Brian Flynn as he crashed the net.
Just moments later, however, Brett Connolly fought hard in front of the Amerks net to sweep the puck around behind and to a waiting Danick Gauthier who scored only his third goal of the season and gave the Crunch the lead back at 4-3.
Late in the third period a crossing pass from JT Wyman went behind Leggio off a Rochester defender's skate. Credit for that insurance goal went to Mike Angelidis.
With Tampa Bay Lightning training camp looming, many Syracuse players will be lobbying for very few spots with the big club.
Nothing as multiple forwards are expected to be coming to camp to compete for 2 spots "@_bradl:What does that mean for Connolly?"
— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) January 10, 2013
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports there will only be two forward spots available for the cadre of Syracuse forwards likely ready to make the jump, including Alex Killorn, Cory Conacher, Brett Connolly, Tyler Johnson and Richard Panik.
The injury to JT Brown, who was expected to start out in a top-6 role for the Lightning, creates opportunity for the other players in Syracuse.
However, as reported by Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, Steve Yzerman is not expected to invite any Syracuse players to training camp in Tampa until after the Crunch play tomorrow.
Tags: Hockey, NHL, Rochester Americans, Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning GM Yzerman said Syracuse players to Tampa camp to be announced after Sat. Crunch game. Said no players to be scratched in advance.
— Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) January 10, 2013